January 21, 2022
Each week, Arts Orange County and Voice of OC are excited to deliver to you this look at the stories and events happening in our arts and cultural community.
Local Arts Spotlight
The acclaimed ensemble led by Wynton Marsalis comes to Segerstrom Center For the Arts, with a local bonus touch - an opening set by students from from Orange County School of the Arts's Garn Family Jazz Studies Program MORE
♦ Visual Arts ♦
How did contemporary art legend Robert Williams wind up in a big show at a scrappy, nonprofit art collective in downtown Santa Ana?

Two years ago, a member of the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art asked him at a book signing if he’d be interested, and he said yes.

The result — two years later — is “The Visual Adventures of Robert Williams,” a collection of painted skateboards, prints, an original oil painting, hand-painted Vans sneakers, a 1932, painted Ford Roadster and more by the godfather of “lowbrow” art and co-founder of the influential Juxtapoz magazine.
♦ Theater ♦
As with theaters everywhere, South Coast Repertory and its audiences have begun readjusting to pre-pandemic schedules of live productions. The venerated regional company is ringing in the new year with the children’s musical “Last Stop on Market Street.”

Opening Jan. 16 and slated for a run of four performances, the show is the lone 2021-22 season production in SCR’s Theatre for Young Audiences and Families series.

Of particular note is that the show is directed by Oanh Nguyen, the founding artistic director of Chance Theater in Anaheim. At least in Orange County, crossover between small companies like Chance and behemoths like SCR is a rarity.

But since 2009, Nguyen has had a hand in multiple SCR shows over a range of programs and series, like its youth theater shows, StudioSCR stagings, NewSCRipts readings and Segerstrom Stage productions. And the basis for his involvement has been the interest SCR co-founder Martin Benson took in Nguyen in the late ’00s.

Chance got onto Benson’s radar as the company was completing its first decade. Their paths crossed, Benson recognized a diamond in the rough, and a working relationship developed that has also become a friendship. While it’s not clear whether referring to Nguyen as Benson’s protégé is accurate, what is clear is that Benson helped nurture Nguyen’s talents and became, in effect, the younger man’s mentor.

Benson has been paying it forward, in effect, for decades now. Nguyen notes that he isn’t alone in having received wisdom and guidance from Benson.
A new year is upon us, with many Orange County institutions launching new seasons of events and opportunities to enliven and enrich your 2022. But many January offerings are exploring postponement or virtual options as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads - as always, watch for updates from any arts and culture offerings you hope to attend, and see the latest updates on SparkOC.com.
♦ Re-Opening ♦
Sound and sight work together to evoke visions of strange futures in the latest iteration of this integrated exhibit of music and drawing at the Santa Ana Arts Collective MORE
♦ Virtual Visit ♦
The Philharmonic Society's Virtual Concert Series continues bringing exciting performances into your home, as a violinst and percussionist join forces to re-invent tunes from classical through contemporary musical literature MORE
♦ For the Family ♦
Every month, a children's book is turned into a living story-creating experience at the Laguna Art Museum, combining read-alouds with art making and other activities for kids MORE
♦ Extra ♦
Local artists are the spotlight in this free fair at the San Clemente Community Center, with paintings, photography, jewelry, quilts, and more MORE
"Arts Orange County continues to play a significant role in galvanizing the community around support, participation and advocacy for the arts and arts education."
- Paula Tomei,
Managing Director,
South Coast Repertory
Voice of OC is Orange County's nonprofit newsroom with a mission to consistently deliver fair, focused and thorough journalism on critical quality of life and local issues for Orange County communities.
Arts Orange County builds appreciation of, participation in and support for the arts and arts education throughout Orange County. Event information provided by SparkOC, an Arts OC program.